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Turkey Intends to Develop Longer-Range Ballistic Missiles: Newspaper

Turkey has set the goal of by 2014 developing ballistic missiles capable of traveling as far as 1,550 miles, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday (see GSN, June 3, 2005).

The Turkish government's High Board of Technology made the determination in accordance with the wishes of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, State Scientific Research Institute chief Yücel Altunbaşak said in a Hurriyet Daily News report.

The research institute previously developed for the Turkish armed forces a missile capable of traveling 311 miles, Altunbaşak said. Other sources have indicated that Turkey's missile reach might be more limited.

The institute in 2012 intends to conduct the maiden flight trial of a missile with a range of 932 miles. Following that, researchers will focus on producing a weapon with a 1,550-mile reach -- a goal that is a "realistic target for Turkey," Altunbaşak said.

Still, experts are skeptical Turkey requires such a weapon or has the wherewithal to produce it, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Ankara's pursuit of the longer-range weapon could signify an alteration in the government's calculation of the regional security challenges it faces, a regional political analyst said.

"Why would the Turks need these missiles? Where will they use them? Against which threats?," the expert said. "It is also intriguing that Turkey, which seeks a modern air force with deterrent firepower, is going along the path many rogue states with no modern air force capabilities have gone" (Xinhua News Agency, Feb. 1).

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